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Saturday, August 19, 2006

Ultrasound scans may harm the unborn child

"Scientists are to investigate whether ultrasound scans may harm the brains of unborn babies.
The move follows a preliminary study which showed when pregnant mice were exposed to ultrasound, their developing offspring suffered brain abnormalities. "
Source: Daily Mail
Gary Moller Comments:
At last! Research is now starting to hint at what many parents have long suspected - our babies do not like untrasound imaging.

Having had four children, three of whom, incidentally, were born at home, I feel partially qualified to comment.

Only our last child had ultrsound imaging and, at the time, I was uncomfortable with it and cautioned against it being done more than once. After all, why have any kind of procedure when there are no clinical reasons for doing so? I feel I have a healthy understanding of ultrasound, having worked around the technology for many years. Ultrasound vibrates the internal contents of a cell so violently that it generates heat (this includes the genetic code). It can cause cells to burst. Therapists, like physiotherapists, must exercise considerable caution when applying ultrasound as therapy.

Depending on the frequency of the ultrasound, it can be heard by animals with acute hearing and this could conceivably include the tiny unborn child. It may cause extreme pain in creatures that can hear it. It makes no sense to violently vibrate a foetus with ultrasound. Virtually every is cell of a foetus is in a constant state of division with its genetic contents in an extremely vulnerable condition as it replicates. Any damage to a child's delicate genetic code must be avoided at all costs.

The fact that it penetrates the mother's womb deep enough to bounce off the unborn child means that the microwave radiation is strong enough to penetrating the child. While heating of the baby may be minimal, I have no doubt that the microwaves are being felt in some way. As any mother will tell you who has had ultrasound imaging of her child, the child tends to be much more active during the procedure, almost as if she or he is trying to get away. The technician doing the procedure downplays these attempts at escape by cooing about how active the little fellow is.

Ultrasound imaging is yet another of those procedures that is mostly unnecessary; but which is now far too commonplace and totally over-used. For our first three children we had a very experienced midwife and an equally experienced doctor. They used their hands and other non-invasive tests to determine the positions and health of our unborn children and their mother. Having our babies at home ensured that there was no unnecessary technological interference in what is a healthy and natural process.

High technology medicine should be reserved for those mothers and their children with established risk factors.


Wayne said...

I suppose someone will claim this as an excuse for the behaviour of politicians?

Wayne said...

the microwaves from cellphones may be another cumulative damaging actor on our brains, use your loudspeaker, use headsets, avoid putting the phone to your ear as much as possible, children are especially vulnerable because of developing brains and thinner skulls. the damage may take decades to show up but it can be cumulative.

Anonymous said...

i would like to clarify that the ultrasound used for heat therapy is a much higher frequency range than diagnostic ultrasound(for the fetus). that is why there is heat generated for therapy, and not for diagnostic exams.
a properly performed ultrasound diagnostic exam will not keep the transducer in one place on the mother's abdomen for a long period of time. most studies can be completed within 30-45minutes.
ultrasound exams should only be performed by a registered sonographer, and for diagnostic purposes only.
as a registered sonographer for almost 20 years, i have seen doctors order complete studies just to pacify the patients for many reasons, most recently being to find out the sex of the baby.
it is important in the begining of a pregnancy to determine that the fetus has indeed implanted properly in the uterus, and is not a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy.(outside of the uterus)
and,of course, there are many legitimate reasons for a sonogram later on in the pregnancy, ex. baby not growing enough, abnormal genetic screenings, maternal pain or bleeding, fetus not moving, etc.
one of my concerns is the new growth of 3-d imaging centers that offer pictures, and videos/dvd's of the fetus with no doctor order, and offers no diagnostic information on the fetus. to me, these places should be scrutinized more.
thanks for listening

Gary Moller said...

Thank you for your contribution to this dicussion Sonographer.
US imaging is a vaulable tool and will be so increasingly as the technology advances. However, its use, as with any dignostic tool, should be determined by a health professional and be for medical purposes only. While there may be minimal heating, the potential problems may be more to do with the vibaration at the cellular level and the high pitches may be within the hearing range of the foetus. Comments please Sonographer?